Los Angeles Football Club came three points closer to its first Supporters’ Shield Wednesday night with a convincing 4-0 win that was cemented with two more goals — one spectacular— from Carlos Vela.
The breakthrough came just six minutes in with Diego Rossi putting home a rebound. From the midfield circle, Eduard Atuesta sent a bullet of a through ball, leading Joshua Perez. Perez one-timed a curled shot towards the far post that was saved but Rossi was there to bury it.
The nightmare start for the Earthquakes was confirmed when San Jose defender Anibal Godoy blocked a Lee Nguyen shot with his hand. Once a VAR check confirmed the penalty, Vela added to his record-setting point total yet again in the 17th minute after burying the penalty shot inside the right post.
After San Jose protested a possible handball on Jordan Harvey that wasn’t called, San Jose head coach Matias Almeyda seemed to be visibly distraught over what he thought was a foul in LAFC’s box earlier in the same minute. The referee walked over and sent him off, but Almeyda did not go quietly. Four minutes of arguing and pleading with the referee later, Almeyda finally started moving towards the locker room, but did not make it there without stopping to yell back at a fan in the stands.
In the same minute that play resumed, Carlos Vela put in his submission for goal of the year with a tap-in off a sensational run beating four defenders and the keeper.
While LAFC was busy running up the score, San Jose did produce an equal amount of opportunities and ‘LAFC keeper Tyler Miller showed up. Early in the second half, Cristian Espinoza found space on the right side of the box and lasered a shot near post that was firmly blocked out by Miller.
Wearing a protective mask, Mohamed El-Munir came on to replace Jordan Harvey in the 62nd minute to make his first appearance since suffering a facial fracture on July 19. The next minute, Adama Diomande subbed on for Rossi.
Miller made a fingertip save on a Quakes shot that clanked off the post in the 78th minute. Guram Kashia pounced on the bouncing rebound but put it over the net for a goal kick.
In the 81st minute, Perez finally scored his first goal for LAFC. Mark-Anthony Kaye, LAFC’s third sub on the night, took the space upfield before cutting back and finding Perez on the wide right side. Perez made a quick move around his defender and tucked his shot past the inside post.
The dominating win over a team desperately fighting for a playoff spot should encourage LAFC, especially by gaining a lead so early on while resting key names in the second of three matches in eight days.
Presumably with a lineup at full strength, LAFC will face the Galaxy with full confidence in the second edition of this year’s El Trafico on Sunday.
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